The beach front restaurants were doing a brisk early evening trade with fish as always a popular choice but generations of Los Cristianos as a fishing community may soon be lost. The crisis is biting deep and the local association of fishermen owes 140,000 euros to the port authority in ever rising fees for mooring and landing the catch.
The evening diners may have found the demonstration of workers, marching to a vibrant drum beat, a pleasant distraction but it was the latest protest in a desperate fight for help and understanding. Several generations took part in the short walk from the church plaza to Plaza de la Pescadora and as they emerged in view of the harbour the fishing boats that had moved to the edge of the beach saluted them with a fanfare of horns.
The fishermen feel they are being squeezed out, the new pontoons installed last year near the ferry port may look nice and modern but are aimed at pleasure boats and smaller fishing craft leaving a cramped open area for the traditional landing of the catch to be packed in ice for transport. There are also more restrictions now on what they can catch and how much, red tuna is one of the more valuable captures but quotas are very limited.
There is also anger at a lack of protection for local waters, the fishermen feel that other unlicensed boats are nipping in and scooping up some of their bounty. All in all it’s a pretty depressing picture. Los Cristianos has a proud tradition and it would be terrible to see it slip through the net, let’s hope that the council and port can find a way to save and nurture this important industry.